The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn
Dragonborn Cover Art.jpg
Developer(s) Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher(s) Bethesda Softworks
Series The Elder Scrolls
Engine Creation Engine, Havok (physics engine)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s) Xbox 360
  • WW December 4, 2012
Microsoft Windows
  • WW February 5, 2013
PlayStation 3
  • NA February 12, 2013
  • EU February 13, 2013
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Downloadable content

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn is the third and final add-on for the action role-playing open world video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and released by Bethesda Softworks on the Xbox Live Marketplace on December 4, 2012. The PC version was released on February 5, 2013 while the PlayStation 3 version was released on February 12, 2013.[1]

Dragonborn involves the player character coming into contact with the first Dragonborn, Miraak. The game takes place on the island of Solstheim, previously featured in the Bloodmoon expansion for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.


A screenshot of a Netch, one of the creatures included in Dragonborn, previously featured in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Morrowind's erupted Red Mountain can also be seen in the background.

Dragonborn follows the same gameplay style as Skyrim, with the player's character free to explore the island of Solstheim at will, pursuing quests at their leisure. New armors, weapons, locations and enemies have been introduced for the expansion. A new feature in Dragonborn is the ability to tame and ride Dragons. The player character can use the Dragon to target and attack enemies, but does not have complete control of the flight.[2] New Dragon Shouts, or Thu'um, have been introduced, as exclusives to the Dragonborn expansion.


The expansion is set on the island of Solstheim, located off the north coast of Morrowind. Solstheim was a territory belonging to Skyrim until the High King gave the island to Morrowind to serve as a refuge for the Dunmer fleeing Morrowind after the eruption of the Red Mountain. Geographically, half of Solstheim is similar to northern Skyrim, covered in icy glaciers and snow. The other half is barren, and covered in ash following the Red Mountain disaster. The island's settlements and buildings also reflect the differing cultures, with the Nordic half of the land populated by familiar, Skyrim architecture. The rest of the island follows a Dunmer architectural style, even containing a house built into a giant mushroom. The island's main settlement, Raven Rock, is governed by House Redoran, one of five Great Houses who rule over the Dunmer.


Dragonborn's main questline is initiated following an attack on the player character by the Cultists of Miraak. Orders found on their corpses reveal them to have been dispatched from Solstheim to Skyrim to murder the player character, perceived as a threat. The player character journeys to Solstheim.

After arriving on the island, the player character begins to ask citizens of Solstheim about Miraak, but none have any memory of him and only give vague clues to his temple in the center of the island. When the Dragonborn visits the Temple of Miraak and meets a Nord named Frea. Frea is attempting to save the Skaal village, her home, and accompanies the player into the Temple. In the depths of Miraak's temple, the player character discovers a "Black Book", and after reading it, is unwittingly transported into a realm of Oblivion called Apocrypha, where they witness Miraak planning his assault on Tamriel. Miraak dismisses the player character as weak and returns them to Solstheim. After their return, the player visits the Skaal village, and helps free the tribe by invoking the Thu'um on a sacred, "All-Maker" stone, corrupted by Miraak as a means to enslave the people of Solstheim. After visiting a Dunmer named Neloth, a powerful Telvanni mage, the player character discovers the Black Book is a relic belonging to the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora, known as the "keeper of forbidden knowledge", and the source of Miraak's power.

The player character and Neloth travel to the Dwemer ruin of Nchardak, and discover another Black Book, locked inside a complex container in a Dwemer Reading Room. They release the mechanism and learn that the player character must return to Apocrypha to learn the remainder of the "Bend Will" Thu'um. After entering Apocrypha, the player character encounters Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Lord of Knowledge and Memory, who reveals that it was he who granted Miraak the knowledge and power to plot a return to Tamriel. Mora explains that if the player character wishes to defeat Miraak, he must gain the same knowledge that Miraak possesses. Mora agrees to teach the player how to defeat Miraak, but asks that they reveal to him the secrets of the Skaal, one of the few remaining pieces of knowledge kept from the Daedric Prince, in return. After returning to the Skaal village, the player character persuades their Shaman, Storm, to give up the Skaal's secrets to Mora by agreeing to cleanse the remainder of the All-Maker stones from Miraak's influence. Storn imparts the secrets of the Skaal unto Mora, but the Daedra kills him after he has done so. The player character learns the final word of "Bend Will", granting them the power to defeat Miraak.

The player returns to Apocrypha, in search of Miraak. Miraak sends a dragon named Sarohtaar to kill the player character, but the player successfully tames the dragon using the force of their Thu'um. Sarohtaar agrees to fly the player to Miraak. After the journey, the player confronts Miraak at the summit of the realm. After an arduous battle between the two Dovahkiin, Hermaeus Mora intervenes, impaling Miraak, dissatisfied with his rebellious nature. After the player absorbs Miraak's soul, Hermaeus Mora transfers the dead Dragonborn's status to the player, who is then transported back to Solstheim.


Dragonborn was originally announced via a trailer on November 5, 2012.[3] Also, a trailer was shown on the Xbox system home page. It was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace on December 4, 2012. The PC version was released on February 5, 2013 while the PS3 version was released on February 12, 2013 in North America and February 13, 2013 in Europe.[1]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (X360) 82.54%[4]
(PC) 82.67%[5]
(PS3) 83.33%[6]
Metacritic (X360) 82/100[7]
(PC) 83/100[8]
(PS3) 82/100[9]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 9/10[11]
Game Informer 8.5/10[12]
GameTrailers 8.5/10[13]
IGN 8.8/10[14]
PC Gamer US 88%[15]
Destructoid 8.5/10[10]

Dragonborn has received mainly positive critical reactions. GamesRadar applauded the number of side-quests, and the new weapons and Dragon Shouts, but dismissed the Dragon riding feature as "gimmicky".[16] EuroGamer gave the content 9 out of 10, praising the quests, new enemies and new location.[17] Joystiq applauded the amount of content in Dragonborn, including the new settings and enemies, but felt the narrative was too familiar.[18]


  1. ^ a b "The Dragonborn Comes in February (and Hearthfire & Dawnguard, too), Bethesda Blog". Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  2. ^ "‘The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn’ DLC Review". 2012-12-07. Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  3. ^ "Bethesda Confirms Skyrim Dragonborn DLC". IGN. Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  4. ^ "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn for Xbox 360". GameRankings. 2012-12-04. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  5. ^ "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn for PC". GameRankings. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  6. ^ "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn for PlayStation 3". GameRankings. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  7. ^ "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. 2012-12-04. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  8. ^ "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  9. ^ "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn for PlayStation 3 Reviews". Metacritic. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  10. ^ "Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dragonborn". Destructoid. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  11. ^ Whitehead, Dan (2012-12-05). "The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim - Dragonborn review • Reviews • Xbox 360 •". Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  12. ^ "Lovecraftian Excellence - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn - Xbox 360". 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  13. ^ "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn Review". GameTrailers. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  14. ^ Ryan McCaffrey 13 Dec 2012 (2012-12-13). "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn Review". IGN. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  15. ^ Christopher Livingston 28 Feb 2012 (2012-02-28). "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn Review". PC Gamer US. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  16. ^ Words: John Learned on Dec. 6, 2012 (2012-12-06). "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Dragonborn review". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  17. ^ Whitehead, Dan (2012-12-05). "The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim - Dragonborn review • Reviews • Xbox 360 •". Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  18. ^ Martin, Garrett (2012-12-11). "Skyrim - Dragonborn review: Miraak-ulous". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-01-18. 

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